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"Sushi unrolled" at Poke Poke

When you're the fifth poke place in a year, a good tagline helps

by Sabine Bickford

From the October, 2019 issue

Poke Poke, on State St. near North University, is the fifth poke-focused restaurant to open in the last year. The student-friendly spot directly off the Diag should help it compete with Wild Poke, two blocks north, and Packard St.'s PoCai.

Poke Poke's tagline, "sushi unrolled," is a concise way of getting across the elements of the dish: rice, raw fish, and vegetables, plus sauce. Randy Foumia is one of an otherwise undisclosed group of partners who own the Southfield-based chain. When they opened their first location last year, he says, it was seen as a risk, since poke was still mainly a west coast dish. Now that poke bowls are popping up everywhere, Poke Poke will soon have seven locations, including one in Tampa.

What sets Poke Poke apart? "It's more of a lifestyle," says Foumia. "You feel good, it's clean food. We have vegan options, we have vegetarian options, we have gluten-free options, so we're catering to people who have these types of diets, and that's really what sets us outside the bubble of every other restaurant. (While in theory the choose-your-own setup allows any poke restaurant to offer vegan or gluten-free options, Poke Poke explicitly labels each ingredient's status on the menu).

Predecessor Roasting Plant Coffee's pneumatic coffee tubes have been replaced by a white-and-wood modern interior and large counter. In typical fast-casual fashion, customers file down the single counter as employees add their chosen ingredients to a bowl.

More seating in the basement lets patrons treat the restaurant more like a cafe. "People are coming in and hanging out or studying," Foumia says.

It's a large space, and Foumia says he and his partners have been brainstorming attractions they can add. "Right now, we're thinking about incorporating a small dessert counter," he says. He's not sure what desserts would be available yet, but he's thinking something gluten-free.

Poke Poke, 312 S. State. (734) 263-2155. Mon.-Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. eatpokepoke.com     (end of article)

[Originally published in October, 2019.]

 



 
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